Leadership Lessons We Can All Learn From Tom Brady (After His Record 5th Super Bowl Win)

Linda Le Phan

You’ve heard it all already. On February 5, 2017, Tom Brady finished 43-for-62 for his fifth championship title, holding the most attempts in Super Bowl history and leading the Pats for an OT victory (the only OT ever in Super Bowl history) against the Atlanta Falcons.

No one would expect that any team down 28-3 in the first quarter of a Super Bowl would have a fighting chance. Yet somehow, Tom Brady successfully led the Patriots to the big championship W they’d been gunning for all season long. While none of us are pro football players, there are certainly a few undeniable leadership lessons we can learn from Tom Brady’s impressive #driveforfive and everything leading up to it:

1. Leaders don’t always start out as leaders

Lest anyone forget, Tom Brady got his start way back in 2000 and was far from a stand-out pick in the NFL draft. He was picked up in the sixth round and was the 199th pick overall. It took many seasons for Brady to become the powerhouse quarterback and Patriots team leader that he is today. Sure, there are some people who seem to naturally ooze leadership prowess from early on, but there are others, like Brady, who start mainly with drive and determination but are diamonds in the rough.

2. Behind any great leader is an even greater team

Brady is getting a lot of credit for the Patriots’ success. But if you notice, every time he or coach Bill Belichick get a chance to pay any credits they will always always refer to the talent, teamwork and mental toughness of the whole Patriots team.  This should ring true (and does) for all other situations that call for leadership, such as the workplace. Case in point: among kununu’s top rated employers (rated 4 stars or more), the average rating for “support from management” was 4.42 out of 5, and “teamwork” was 4.5 out of 5. 

3. Integrity and respect is everything

I won’t go into details, but this little controversy known as Deflategate was a huge thorn in the side of the Patriots organization (to put it hilariously lightly) before the season even started. Throughout it all, though, Tom Brady – who was at the center of the entire controversy – showed poise and integrity when most people would have crumbled under frustration and legal pressure. This ensured that his teammates, and fans, could continue to trust and respect him no matter the outcome. This type of leader-team dynamic is crucial in any scenario if you want to win.

4. Setbacks don’t get in the way of the goal (pun intended)

The controversial start to the season was one thing (it put Brady out of play for 4 games), but on top of that, the Pats lost one of their star eligible receivers in Rob Gronkowski when he suffered a season-ending injury during the regular season. In spite of this, though, Tom was able to power on, adapting his strategy and making successful plays with multiple other team members who rose to the challenge. This includes everyone from Malcolm Bulter, James White, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, as well as Chris Hogan and rookie Malcolm Mitchell. For effective leaders, setbacks turn out to be great opportunities rather than deterrents to success.


Whether you’re a Tom Brady and New England Patriots fan or not, you simply can’t deny that Brady defied some serious odds leading up to that final touchdown drive in Super Bowl LI.  And it’s those many odds that help to show us exactly what type of leader he is.

What did you think about Super Bowl LI? Share your thoughts with us @kununu_US!

featured image


Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a company review platform built on transparency. When she isn’t focused on creating great content around the modern workplace, company culture, and workplace happiness, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.